It feels odd to be back at it again so soon after Christmas. The extended weekend was like a mini vacation on my end which is something I rarely ever experience (was a bit odd but a good thing). Granted I will be having another 4 day weekend as we move into New Years as well. I can't remember a time when I have had the opportunity to experience the holidays like this. For most of my working life I have been working up to the holiday and then right back to work when it was over (sometimes even working on the holiday).
This line of thinking (maybe its the new year coming in) has been pushing into reflection of my life up till now and how it has changed over the past year. I feel I have talked about it in the past as well, but it is a good thing to look at where you have come from at times in order to come to terms with where you are going. The trite phrase "if you do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have already gotten," speaks volumes when you are looking to change how you wish to experience your future.
It seems like only yesterday, though it was more like 10 years ago when I was looking at my future and making decisions of where I wished to take my life and my family. At the time I was looking at going back to school in an effort to gain an education to base the rest of my life on. At that time the choice was between going to culinary school or maybe going to a technology school and learning computer stuff. That decision for my life was based on something incredibly simple; something that in hindsight seems the most assinine reasoning for spending thousands of dollars as well as basing a life altering decision on.
The decision was simply which one could I see doing for the rest of my life. If I had chosen the path of working with computers as my life's work, I knew I would grow to despise them and it would take the joy I found in tinkering away. At the same time I took the basic assumption that I would always want to eat so it would be wise to learn to make decent food. Honestly, this seems such a simplistic approach to choosing how you will spend your life.
In retrospect I realize that I took far more away from my time in school than just learning how to cook. If you know anything about culinary school, you don't really learn how to cook, at least at the most basic level. You gain exposure to new experiences that you might have never found exploring on your own. Granted this is true of college in general, but when it comes to experiencing the world of food and drink it becomes even more important. When you look at the greatest chefs in America, let alone the world, their ability to create new and creative dishes came from a broad exposure to techniques and styles from around the world. The same is true for brewers, vintners, and even distillers.
Looking at where I am now, I know I would not be able to do what it is I do without the experiences I have gained. I don't mean this as an endorsement for college by any means. But I full heartedly endorse continued education. The most important thing a person can do in their lives is to learn something new everyday. Learning should be one of our biggest goals in our lives.
Time for a pint...